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Sony A7R IV Burst Mode for Frame Averaging Drops to 12-Bit Files if Using Compressed RAW

David S writes:

Thanks for hammering away at the importance of frame averaging and focus stacking. Like you say, these already-available technologies are crucial for getting the most out of recent cameras.

Just wanted to let you know that with the Sony cameras, you can use self-timer mode with a two-second delay to take a burst of five images. I’ve been using this feature with good success hand-held, in silent shutter mode at high speed burst. I find that blending five exposures gives a significant bump up in image quality. Too bad the readout speed of the electronic shutter is so slow.

DIGLLOYD: past Sony cameras dropped to 12 bit in burst mode, and unfortunately the Sony A7R IV still drops to 12-bit files in burst mode with file format set to Compressed.

With the file format set to Uncompressed (123MB each!), Sony A7R IV burst mode records in 14-bit Uncompressed, doubling the storage requirements.

The space cost of Uncompressed is just unpalatable to me. The alternative is to use the wireless remote control in single shot mode, and just hit it quickly N times using Compressed mode, which delivers 14-bit files at half the size. This can be done very quickly with a remote control (I tried it).

For ten frames, the space savings is 1.2GB vs 610MB.

Compressed should be fine for frame averaging, or so I presume based on what I know about its compression algorithm—I could be mistaken and have not yet confirmed of it, but I don’t know of any inherent reason it should matter in this use case.

Frame averaging could be used with pixel shift too, and maybe frame averaging could help cancel out checkerboarding problems, say four pixel shift shots (16 frames total). I will try it.

diglloyd-iMac:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ exiftool _DGL1045.ARW
...
Bits Per Sample                 : 12  <=== burst mode drops to 12 bit files
Compression                     : Sony ARW Compressed

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